Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, January 2, 2015 at 7:00 AM
Wow...no let up in the college bowls after a fantastic New Year’s Day. We have four games running through the day Friday on ESPN. Then, one bowl apiece Saturday and Sunday mixed in with the Wildcard games. In this special report, I’ll focus exclusively on the remaining bowls. Then, I’ll come back this afternoon to talk about how sharps have been betting those four NFL games.
Here we go in kickoff order…
ARMED FORCES BOWL
PITTSBURGH vs. HOUSTON (noon ET Friday on ESPN)
An opener of Pittsburgh -2.5 has been bet up through the key number of three to Pitt -3.5. You regulars know that’s a significant move given that there wasn’t buyback on the dog. Note that Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati a few days ago was a matchup of the same conferences. Virginia Tech won easily as a dog. It’s been a mixed bag for the ACC thus far, with clear highlights on Clemson’s upset of Oklahoma, and Georgia Tech’s upset of Mississippi State. Sharps really liked Pitt at -2.5 and -3, but the money at least stopped with the hook. Nothing happening on the total as of press time. None of Friday’s games have moved at least a point from the opener on the Over/Unders.
IOWA vs. TENNESSEE (3:20 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN)
Looks like we have a tug-of-war shaping up between Tennessee -3 and Iowa +3.5. Though, that may change before kickoff given the Big 10’s high profile successes vs. the SEC on Thursday (and earlier SEC failures for Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and LSU). The opener of Tennessee -2.5 was bet up fairly early. Sharps did play the percentages below the critical number. Monitor line movements before kickoff to see if there’s any residual impact of recent SEC spread results.
UCLA vs. KANSAS STATE (6:45 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN)
We have a flipped favorite as UCLA is now favored by -1.5 after Kansas State opened at that price. Bowl games can’t end in a tie, so that’s not quite as big a move as it might seem at first glance. We’re moving through non-critical numbers. Tough to know how active the public will be the day after New Year’s, even in a marquee matchup like this. Plus, UCLA is from the Pac 12 South, which has seen ATS failures in the bowls from USC, Arizona State, and Arizona in recent days. (Utah won big way back on the first day of bowl action). I believe any game-day move toward Kansas State would have to be considered sharp. Tougher call on the small TV favorite.
OKLAHOMA STATE vs. WASHINGTON (10:15 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN)
Washington closed the season well, and was bet up from an opener of -5 to -6 and -6.5. Some stores may be testing -7 by the time you read this. I wouldn’t be surprised if that comes into play before kickoff. Oregon and Stanford of the Pac 12 North both won bowl blowouts. Also worth noting that this is a prime time game in the Pacific time zone, where Las Vegas is located. Will be interesting to see if sharps buy in on the dog at +7. Percentages say yes…but the Big 12 has had a poor postseason outside of TCU.
EAST CAROLINA vs. FLORIDA (1 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2)
Moving to Saturday. Florida opened at -7.5, and was bet down to -7. That’s generally a serious indictment of a favorite. Sharps didn’t wait to see if the public bet the TV chalk. Though, in this case, it may just have been a bad opener. Florida doesn’t have an explosive offense. East Carolina is one of the more respected mid-majors (though they disappointed late in the season). The public probably won’t be too active here because the NFL Wildcard games are starting later in the day. And, this is a morning kickoff in Las Vegas. I wouldn’t be shocked if the line drops further between now and kickoff. On the total, most stores have dropped a point from 57 to 56. This is an outdoor bowl, so keep an eye on the Saturday weather forecast.
GO DADDY BOWL
TOLEDO vs. ARKANSAS STATE (9 p.m. ET Sunday on ESPN)
Big move here on Toledo, as an opener of -2 was bet up to -3.5. That’s flying through the key number of three without any buyback. There have been two bowls so far where the MAC matched up against the Sun Belt. Bowling Green upset South Alabama as an underdog of +3.5. Central Michigan rallied to cover as a dog of the same price vs. Western Kentucky. Tough for sharps to find any reasons to back the Sun Belt team, even if it’s a shorter trip for Arkansas State to Mobile, Alabama. Nothing happening on the total. Any move here before kickoff on the side or total would have to be considered sharp. The public isn’t likely to pay much attention to this one after watching a pair of NFL Wildcard games. And, many college football “tourists” will already be on their way home after enjoying a memorable long weekend in the sports betting capital of the world.
I’ll talk about those NFL games Friday afternoon for you here at the VSM BLOG. You can purchase my Friday bowl BEST BETS online with your credit card. If you have any questions about my personal service, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours Friday. Try to check in early because there are day games.
Thanks for reading. See you Friday afternoon for the NFL.
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